Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about Corallimorph Disease Diagnosis

FAQs on Mushroom Disease: Mushroom Health 1, Mushroom Disease 2,
FAQs on Mushroom Disease by Category: Environmental, , (Pollution/Poisoning, Lighting...), Nutritional, Social (Allelopathy), Trauma, Pathogenic (Infectious, Parasitic, Viral) Predatory/Pest, Treatments 
& Mushroom Reproduction/Propagation,

Related Articles: Corallimorpharians, Cnidarians, Water Flow, How Much is Enough,

Related FAQs: Cnidarian Disease, Corallimorphs, Mushrooms 2, Mushrooms 3, Mushrooms 4, Mushroom Identification, Mushroom Behavior, Mushroom Compatibility, Mushroom Selection, Mushroom Systems, Mushroom Feeding, Mushroom Reproduction, Stinging-celled Animals,


Help! Something eating my corals in the middle of the night!
Hello! First I want to say thanks for all the information you guys provide, it's helped me get through a lot of sticky situation. I need your help once again. For the past several days I have looked all over your site and the rest of the Internet for an answer and have not been able to find one. This started about a week ago when I noticed my mushrooms that were close to the sand bed just completely vanishing overnight. Mushrooms that were close to the sand bed were BEAUTIFULLY opened all day and next day in the morning COMPLETELY gone and all I saw was slime covering where the mushroom used to
be and some mushrooms just the outside ring was left but the entire center was gone. First it happened to about 10 Ricordeas from literally one night to the next, then it happened to a huge colony of red and blue mushrooms.
On the 3rd day I decided to remove all sand and investigate, found nothing.
I decided I would put the alarm clock about 2 hours after lights shut off to investigate. I did this and the only thing I found was A TON of little round white and brown snail.

<Mmm; don't think they're the immediate cause. What other Cnidarians are here?>
Tried looking on internet but I believe may be some type of nerite snails, I don't think they are the problem because they were EVERYWHERE and not on top of any corals and I figured they can get to all corals not just the ones near the sand. Next night (after removing all my remaining mushrooms) now it was a few acan, chalice, and favia frags that were also on sand bed.
<Mmm; these too should not have out-warred Corallimorphs>

They are literally half eaten and all i see is a slimey residue and the skeleton underneath. I have since moved these corals to a higher location and they are doing fine now. I took another coral and put it on the sand bed right before I turned off the lights and sure enough by morning it was covered in slime and skeleton was all that was left. Please help! I don't know what else to do! There is still some sand left and I really don't want to remove ALL my sand but I will if I have to. Thanks.
<Well; such an overnight problem (vs. a little over weeks time) and w/ the Shrooms presenting as you state... Am guessing this is/was some sort of "melt down" prompted by a challenge to the Mushrooms... Did you do something the day ahead of the event? Like add a supplement, medication, algicide or such? You may gain solace and useful input from reading re other such events; here: http://wetwebmedia.com/toxicwipeoutf.htm
and the "same advice" listed there. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help! Something eating my corals in the middle of the night!

Thank you so much for the quick response! I also thought that maybe it was a series of events from maybe the mushroom toxins but I'm starting to rule that out because during the day all these corals that are waking up dead and covered in slime are nice and opened during the day and at night they're gone..
<... more like a chemical battle... Allelopathy>
Plus the ones that were affected were moved up and are doing well and others that were doing well up top, I moved down and were eaten that night.
I did see a couple of asterina stars which I forgot to mention. Can you please clarify which is the bad asterina vs the good ones and do they eat all types of corals?
<You can just look this up on WWM... the indices, search tool on every page>
So far it's been mushrooms, acans, chalices, favia, and all have been on the sand bed. Wall hammers, wall frogspawn,
<...? You didn't mention these Euphylliids in your orig. email... Read about these as well>

and Acroporas are unaffected. Any other ideas?
<Reading. BobF>
Thanks again

Mushroom Meltdown 7/6/07 I have had a 120 for 10 years, and during that time, had a mushroom rock (Green/blue striped) that has literally become a massive colony. I'm talking on and under every rock (200+ lbs of rock). Even many with no color since they got no light (very cool), not to mention many over 6 inches across. The tank has been very stable and the mushrooms open up beautifully. (I have pretty low flow in that tank). Below are two links that show the tank. (they don't do the mushrooms justice as they were taken just after the lights came on before the mushrooms were open, but you get the point) I say again that this tank has been stable for 10 years. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SD_3i2ALjDo  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvtAvnBbwWg  So, I went away for a week, had someone watch my tank for me (Who I trust). Fed the tank (Frozen- 1 cube Mysis and 1 cube Mix A - Also, very small amt of arctic pods) 2x over the course of the week (I was feeding the day I got home). - In the tank: Yellow Tang Purple Tang Unicorn Tank Flame Angel Brittle Star 4 Ricordea a million of the aforementioned mushrooms 1 yellow leather 3 frags of pumping leather yellow polyps red Blastomussa So, I walk in and 75% of the mushrooms are gone. That's right. Vanished. (Melted is more like). PH was 7.89 (Low). Temp was fine. Water was a little cloudy. Fish and all other corals were fine. Temp was fine (77 as always) I did a 35 gallon water change the next day. The Mushrooms were 90% gone and water was getting cloudier. Next day - shrooms were 100% gone, water was cloudier and all else, again, fine. Skimmer going crazy of course. I did another 35 gallon water change since I'm sure my levels must be spiking like crazy. Today - all shrooms gone. I did a 45 gallon water change. Nitrates are 20 Bad but not terrible. Ammonia is through the roof. I took the leather (Which was finally looking stressed, as well as the Ricordea and a Blastomussa, and pumping leather and am putting them into my 180 (40 G sump and 75 gallon fuge) for safe keeping. <Good> I am thinking that the 120 has a serious cycle to go through for the near future. <Perhaps...> Questions: 1)What could have happened to dissolve every single mushroom and not the other corals??? (Did she pour a ton of arctic pods in ((Says she didn't)) <Mmm, some sort of "cascade event"... One thing leading quickly and deadly to another... Some sort of pathogen perhaps... or other trigger causing one Corallimorph to poison the system for its genetic likes> 2)Should I get all fish out (into the 180) as well and throw some damsels in there for the cycle?? (Buy some liquid quick cycle (I forget the name) <Mmmm, perhaps... if they appear stressed... too much... And BioSpira is likely the product you refer to and want to use> It's just amazing to me that after 10 years, they could all vanish literally overnight! Could this have been a spawning event of some kind? <Mmmm, not likely, no... This same sort of triggered response can come from "something" lacking in the environment, allelopathy with other Cnidarians... the Clavulariid, or Sarcophyton most likely from what you list...> Thank you very much! Mitch <These "things" do happen... even in well-kept, long-term-stable settings... Periodically upsetting the homeostasis (dynamic equilibrium... jumbo shrimp? Military intelligence?) is suggested... Bob Fenner>
Mushroom Meltdown - one addition 7/6/07
I have to add: I just realized that I forgot to mention something that could be important. My protein skimmer had not been working for a few months (with no detrimental effects) and I did take it apart and clean and fix it about 3 weeks ago. I wonder if this could have started the shift in water chemistry. (IE cleaning the water of excess nutrients that the mushrooms were thriving on, leading to the great mushroom crash.) <Yes... this definitely is a factor> Again, it was overnight and only the mushrooms, so I would still love to hear your thoughts. Thanks again, Mitch <Bob Fenner>
Re: Mushroom Meltdown 7/7/07
Thanks for the response Bob! ok- so a follow up. I am now seeing a white fungus on several rocks and on the bottom of the tank. Could this be related to the cause of the mushroom loss, or a growth after the fact based on the levels in the tank going so crazy in the past week? Also, of course- what should I do about it? Thanks again, Mitch <Is very likely related to the meltdown... are decomposition products... Need to monitor water quality, utilize activated carbon in your filter flow path, keep your skimmer cleaned (esp. the contact chamber), and carefully watch your other livestock. BobF>

Ricordea Yuma Bleaching 10/18/05 Hello, <Hey, Mike G here.> I have a brilliant, large rock covered with Ricordea yuma and Discosoma. This piece has been in my tank for about a year now. It has not been through any great changes to it's habitat, water levels are perfect, salinity has not changed, lighting has not changed and temperature has not changed. <Okay.> My problem: For about a week now the Ricordea have not opened to their full potential. <Always a cause for concern.> They are still responsive as they close when the lunar lights are on and open when the when the rest of the lights come on. <Good.> They only open to about a 1/4 of their size though. <Not so good.> They also seem to be changing color, from a deep reddish brown to an almost white. <Ah, they are bleaching. That is, all corals live endosymbiotically with a photosynthetic dinoflagellate known as zooxanthellae. The zooxanthellae thrive in the corals' tissues, and provide them not only with their color, but also with their respiratory wastes. The corals do the same, and, as each has different needs in terms of respiration, both thrive. In fact, zooxanthellae are credited with being the reason corals are able to build such massive reef structures. In any case, under stress, corals will expel their symbiotic zooxanthellae, and, in doing so, effectively destroy their own ability to sustain themselves via photosynthesis. Any coral turning white is a cause for alarm, as this (known as bleaching) is the aforementioned expellation (expulsion) of zooxanthellae. It is of paramount importance to figure out why the Ricordea have decided to evict these (very valuable) tenants.> They also seem to be partially releasing themselves from their host rock. <Too weak to hold on? Trying to catch a wave to a better place?> The Discosoma have begun shedding themselves from the rock and transplanting on other rocks. This has only seemed to give the other Discosoma more room to open larger. <Sounds like everyone's trying to get away from that rock. Likely a bad spot in regard to lighting, flow, etc.> The question: Are these issues natural or is there a problem that I need to address? <Natural? Yes, but not in the least a "good" kind of natural.> I have attached a picture of the tank for your viewing. You can find the Ricordea located in the middle right of the picture. <Absolutely gorgeous system you have there! Can't tell much from the pic in terms of the Ricordea, however. Going by your description, I'm almost positive they're bleaching. Do try moving them around a bit, try to get them to a spot they like.> Thank you in advance for your help, <You're very welcome.> Steve S
<Mike G>

Mushroom problems 5/3/04 I have a big problem, my mushrooms keep falling of the rocks (looks like their melting of the rock) and some are dying- just becoming grey slime.  Its mostly the red and green mushrooms.  All leather corals, polyps, fish and hairy mushrooms are fine. But I am losing my green/red mushrooms more and more each week. <Yikes!  This definitely sounds like a water quality issue.> Ever since this started about 4 weeks ago, I also lost 5 shrimp and every time I add new shrimp they disappear?? <This could be an acclimation issue.  Shrimp are very sensitive to changes in salinity and pH and must be acclimates slowly.> So I thought no iodine - So I bought a Salifert iodine test kit - it shows zero. So I started supplementing with iodine. <Kudos on testing before adding!  Many disasters would be averted if more folks followed this simple rule!  I would advise that you do not try to supplement all the way to normal levels, rather dose very conservatively, testing shortly after doses to be sure that you NEVER exceed natural sea water levels of iodine.> I have had this tank for years and never supplemented with it before so why would they need it now?? <Aha!  Good question.  Most tanks get all of the iodine they need through fish food and water changes.  The exception (maybe) is tanks with algal filters.> I noticed a few bristleworms and a lot of red thin tiny worms in the gravel however never see them on a live mushroom. <No worries, they are harmless.  True predatory worms are very rare, and the damage they inflict is distinctive and obvious.> I change water and VHO lights all the time and ammo/trite/trate show zero. salinity 1.023-4 and ph 8.4. <I am in favor of 1.025-1.026 salinity for inverts.  Also, what about alkalinity?  Alk is very important to test for and maintain.> All I add is stress coat during water changes and coral vital 3x a week and occ. Coralife trace elements. Can you suggest adding anything else that would help. <As a rule, adding things (other than calcium and alkalinity supplements) often does more harm than good.  Slime coat should not be necessary, and any product that does not indicate it's purpose and ingredients clearly should be avoided.> Would a U.V. take any good stuff out of water?  I know the protein skimmer takes out the iodine. Need advice.  Thanks, Dirk <UV cannot remove anything, but it can encourage chemical reactions that may change the form of some things.  Skimming will remove Iodine, but not much.  Best Regards.  Adam>
-Melting Mushrooms: Part II-
alk is fine but is it possible to get high TDS levels in well water. <Absolutely, well water can be full of all kinds of good and bad stuff. It's never a bad idea to start with water that you KNOW is free of impurities, like water filtered thru a reverse osmosis and/or deionization unit.> I never had an ro/di unit on this tank and everything has thrived for 6 years. maybe something is wrong with the well water now -is that possible? <Absolutely, it's what some call 'old tank syndrome'. It is possible that over the years, the consistent addition of your source water has given rise to undesirable levels of unknown (or known!) contaminates (heavy metals, pesticides, etc).> I know the ro/di cant hurt and I have to do something and this is the only thing I can think of. <It's a start. Since you have a well, you may want to go with a DI unit since they do not waste any water (more expensive long term though). I would begin by doing a few large water changes with pure water (and salt of course!!!), and by running some fresh activated carbon.> what about you. thanks dirk <I hope this is of some assistance! -Kevin>

Mushroom Corals 3/13/04 Anthony,  <Adam here today.> Thanks for all the advice. One of my mushroom corals is not doing well. How do you know when they have died or are beyond recovery? What do they look like when they are sick, dying or dead? If they are sick should you QT them? If so, how do you get them off the rock? They are still stuck like glue. <If they die, they will "melt" and disappear.  When they are stressed, they either fail to expand or they will expel mesenterial filaments (looks like tiny spaghetti), and occasionally they will bleach (turn white).  If you choose to quarantine them (or other corals attached to rock), you should do so with them attached to the rock.  Removing them will do far more harm than good.> FYI. My Yellow Twinspot Hogfish had ick and I pulled him and treated him for one month and he is back in the display tank. I thought I would let you know that I conditioned a QT tank with him in it with ick and he easily survived 2 weeks with very high nitrites until it cycled. They are tough fish! Thanks.  Mark <Congrats on the survival of your fish.  They are quite hardy indeed.  In the future, it is best to cycle the quarantine tank in advance of needing it.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Shroom Health I have just a quick question. About 4 months ago I bought a rock with about  10 blue/purple frilly mushrooms on it. They were doing fine up until about  2 weeks ago, now they are just shriveled up and never spread out. I know  they are getting enough lite, there's plenty of calcium, and I always add  iodide to the tank. No nitrates/nitrites or any other pathogens are present.  Just wondering what you think may be the problem. Thanks for the help. Corey Hamilton >> Something too much or too little... maybe too much in the way of additives (stop pouring them in... make a large water change to dilute what's there)... Not enough circulation? Move a powerhead, other pumping mechanism to provide more water flow their way... Patience otherwise. Bob Fenner

Mushrooms turning white - Graham's Opinion I have had these mushrooms for about 5 years, growing so prolifically that thought they might overtake the tank. They stopped reproducing as much, then started turning white gradually over about 9 months, not overnight. <They're definitely responding to some stress factor.> Mushrooms at the top, middle, and bottom of the tank are affected, while other mushrooms right next to them are not. <Very interesting. What species of mushrooms have been effected? Has this been something which has happened to one species/genus of mushroom, or has this happened to various species?> It doesn't seem to matter what other corals the affected mushrooms are next to in the tank. As far as I know I did nothing unusual to the tank to cause the problem. As I mentioned earlier, water quality is good for Nitrates, Nitrites, Ammonia, Phosphates.  PH and Alkalinity got very low at some unknown point. Maybe that is the big swing you mentioned. The PH is back up to normal.  <This worries me. This may have been what initially caused the problem, however, the mushrooms would have most likely regained their coloration by now if that was indeed the problem.> The Alkalinity is around 3.0, slowly working its way up. Water temperature is 80. I change out about 8 gallons every 2 weeks during my major cleaning. The lights are on about 11 hours a day.  <How long have you had these lights?> You mentioned that the mushrooms were possibly losing their Zooxanthellae. <If they're white, they have lost their Zooxanthellae.> I bought PhycoPure microalgae which contains Zooxanthellae and have been adding a tablespoon a day. Will that help? <I doubt it would make any significant difference, if any.> Thanks, Russell <Russell, this is a very mind boggling problem. I'm going to forward this message to another WetWebMedia crew member for more suggestions. Take Care, Graham.> 
White Mushies - not the kind you grow in the dark
Hi Graham, <Hey Russell> Thanks for your reply.  <No problem. I apologize for the lateness.> I believe the affected corals are from the Discosoma family, Actinodiscus species. Although, it appears that the Ricordea are also losing some color.  <This is interesting to know. What other species have not been effected, or are nearby the Discosoma spp. mushrooms?> It may be coincidental, but I have tried a 3 bubble corals over the last 1-2 years and they did not survive. <What symptoms did they show when they died? How long did it take for them to die?> The lights were changed this past December. I change them every 7-8 months.  One thing I just discovered is the salinity is off. Mycoral book recommends 34-36 ppt, but my tank is only 31. Could this have anything to do with the problem? <I doubt it.> Thanks again,  <This is a very mind boggling issue. Possibly other crew members will be able to chime in. Take Care! Graham.> Russell 
Bleaching Mushroom Corals? - Again
I have had these mushrooms for about 5 years, growing so prolifically that I thought they might overtake the tank. They stopped reproducing as much, then started turning white gradually over about 9 months, not overnight.  Mushrooms at the top, middle, and bottom of the tank are affected, while other mushrooms right next to them are not. It doesn't seem to matter what other corals the affected mushrooms are next to in the tank. As far as I know I did nothing unusual to the tank to cause the problem. As I mentioned earlier, water quality is good for Nitrates, Nitrites, Ammonia, Phosphates.  PH and Alkalinity got very low at some unknown point. Maybe that is the big swing you mentioned. The PH is back up to normal. The Alkalinity is around 3.0, slowly working its way up. Water temperature is 80. I change out about 8 gallons every 2 weeks during my major cleaning. The lights are on about 11 hours a day. You mentioned that the mushrooms were possibly losing their Zooxanthellae. I bought PhycoPure microalgae which contains Zooxanthellae and have been adding a tablespoon a day. Will that help? Thanks, Russell <Well, Russell, I am also of the opinion that the Corallimorphs are. expelling their Zooxanthellae in response to some sort of stress. It could be due to the environmental fluctuation that you mentioned, or it could have been caused by some allelopathic competition between different species in close proximity. That's probably my #1 guess. Other theories for this rather common occurrence: Possible damage caused by excessive lighting, loss of UV reflecting pigmentation caused by an untold number of possible factors, such as lower pH, insufficient iodine or magnesium levels, etc.( I'd keep up regular water changes rather then supplement, however). Lots of possibilities, all of which are worth investigating...These are just a few of the ideas that come to my mind, though. Hope this helps. Regards, Scott F>

Red Mushroom corals Hi Bob,  <Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob travels Australia in search of a really good steak> I have a 90 gal. running for 3yrs. with 100lbs live rock lighting custom sea life 4 96 watt split actinic & 10000K mixed with corals &fish, everything was running great then one day my red mushrooms bleached out their color along with a red open brain coral, couple other things I have noticed is that my 2 pagoda cups , green button polyps just don't open up like they used to. is their something I should test for that I'm lacking ,I do know calcium is 400 450 no ammonia very low nitrate salinity a little high 1.026 I add trace elements iodine on a weekly basis, Thanks for any help, or if you need more info I'll let you know Brian  <sudden bleaching often coincides with sudden increase in water clarity as with from the following: changing of very aged bulbs (over 1 year old... while fluorescents should be changed every 6-10 months when over coral), addition of carbon or chemical media (PolyFilters and the like) after a long period without (which suddenly takes light reducing yellowing agents out of the water) or a good cleaning of a very dirty glass canopy or lens. Basically, think of how it was possible that more light could suddenly penetrate the water. Else look to water quality (what is your alkalinity, for example...aim for close to 12 dKH. Best regards, Anthony>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: